Educational Reformers Stand Divided On Issues of Race and Charter Schools

The Black Lives Matter movement has been making headlines everywhere you turn—not a week goes by without an event that causes major discussions in our communities. While the majority of the focus has been on police brutality and demands for social reform, there have been ongoing debates about educational reform in regards to race, questions that have divided the educational community into clusters that have chosen to either oppose or support a moratorium on charter school expansion.

This moratorium was called for by the Movement for Black Lives (also referred to as M4BL), an organization that embodies certain elements of the Black Lives Matter movement, which demanded the cessation of charter school expansion on the basis that the current “corporate-backed” mayoral takeovers of the school systems were directly linked with the school-to-prison pipeline.

In addition to the moratorium, M4BL demanded the placement of democratically elected boards and more equitable funding, as well as a halting of school closures and out-of-school suspensions.

The backers of the moratorium (which include co-author of the Black Lives Matter platform, Hiram Rivera, and national coordinator of the Alliance for Educational Justice, Jonathan Stith) argue that in temporarily halting expansion of charter schools, assessments of the current educational system can be allowed in order to get to the roots of the problem.

They believe that districts are constantly being taken over by governors or mayors, which give the black community little to no voice or choice in the development of the charter school systems, which ultimately result in charter schools becoming “shiny versions of the school-to-prison pipeline.”

The opponents, however, believe that charter schools are ultimately working in favor of low-income black and Latino students.

Both Jacqueline Cooper, president of the National Alliance for Educational Options, and Stacey Childress, CEO of New Schools Venture Fund, believe that a blanket moratorium would limit black students’ accessibility to great schools, and deny black parents the opportunities to make the choices for what they believe might be best for their children.

Read the full story: Questions Of Race and Charter Schools Divide Education Reformers

Jocelyn Bermudez

Jocelyn Bermudez

Jocelyn is a freelance writer originally from sunny South Florida, where she was the Managing Editor of Axis Creative Arts Magazine and a Senior Academic Mentor at United Mentors. She is currently a student at Emerson College, where she spends her time refining her writing skills when she isn’t preparing for the famous New England winters.